On Sunday evening in New York, the Swedish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2018 brought together some of the most important global champions in the policy area sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
The reception took place at the Swedish residence in New York, and the idea was to mobilise ahead of the negotiations at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
UN Women stresses role played by Nordic Region
Both Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, and Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), stressed the important role played by the Nordic Region in advancing SRHR at the global level.
“The Nordics have distinguished themselves by showing solidarity with some of the most vulnerable women and girls on the planet. Nordic financial and political support provides these women with access to contraception and maternity services that are life-saving. It means something to them that the support comes from a part of the world where feminism is respected and where the idea is that everyone is equal,” Natalia Kanem said.
Moving in the wrong direction
The fact that gender equality and SRHR are encountering resistance and that the trend in many parts of the world is moving in the wrong direction makes global co-operation a top priority. This was the starting point for the mobilisation by similarly-minded countries in advance of the CSW negotiations.
In the Nordic Region, the struggle for women’s sexual and reproductive rights was absolutely essential to the establishment of gender-balanced welfare states, Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver, pointed out.
“The welfare state is based on a notion of sexual and reproductive health and rights. It’s based on women participating in the labor market, but also having the means to do so in terms of being able to control our reproduction,” she added.